Archive for the ‘Radio and Podcasts’ Category

Listening to the world (in 100 objects)

22 June 2011

By Kevin O’Sullivan

On a Friday afternoon last October, at the end of a particularly intensive week’s photographing at the National Archives in Kew, I took the opportunity of a few hours rambling around London before catching the late flight from Heathrow. Bag safely ensconced in the left luggage at St Pancras, I headed for the British Museum with the germ of an idea. For months I’d been listening to – and loving – the museum’s ambitious collaborative project with BBC Radio 4: A History of the World in 100 Objects.

I arrived by the way I always seem to manage to get to the British Museum: not by the grand steps of the front entrance, but through that innocuous back/side entrance that makes you feel as though you’ve snuck in to the heart of the building without running the gambit of the groups of school children that range from the unruly to the genuinely interested via the more common expression: I’d-rather-be-somewhere/anywhere-else. (Innocuous, of course, except for the giant stone lions outside, but why would a historian let facts get in the way of a good narrative?)

The plan, in as much as I had one, was to pick – at random – two or three objects from the sixty or so episodes still on my iPod, occupy a quiet bench and listen as the persuasive voice of Niall McGregor, the museum’s director, guided me through the detail and context of a set of coins from eight century Syria. Read More

Celebrating two years of Pue’s Occurrences, and a new address

28 April 2011

From the editors

If you can believe it – because we certainly can’t – it’s been nearly two years since the Pue’s Occurrences collective made its first contributions to the blogosphere. To celebrate, from today Pue’s is moving to a new – and simpler – address: But don’t fret; there’ll be no change to your usual historical service. Just update your bookmarks/favourites/Google Reader and RSS settings (if, indeed, you use any of the above) accordingly to continue to receive our regular postings from the world of history. And don’t worry if it slips your mind – typing into your browser or searching for ‘Pue’s’ in your favourite internet search engine will still bring you to us.

Public service announcements over, we should also tell you about some of the fun things we have lined up to celebrate our birthday over the next six weeks or so. First up is a special Pue’s contribution to RTÉ Radio 1’s The History Show. Tune in this Sunday evening, 1 May, between 6 and 7 pm, to hear us chat to Myles Dungan about the hows and whys of history online and give our recommendations for the best of what’s out there on the web – everything from Google Books to newspaper archives to Antarctic preservation and iTunesU! For those of you outside Ireland – or away from a radio on a bank holiday Sunday afternoon – you can catch it as a live stream from the RTÉ website or download the podcast from iTunes.

There will be plenty more to follow in the month of May: our individual reflections on being part of a vibrant online history community, our favourite reads, our most read posts, and much more. It’s our way of celebrating, thanking, and looking forward to hearing more from you, our readers, commenters and contributors who have made Pue’s such an interesting place over the past twenty-four months or so. Watch this space!

To pickle pidgeons…

30 January 2011

By Juliana Adelman

You may or may not have heard Catherine Cleary and I talking about 18th and 19th C Irish recipes on Myles Dungan’s History Show on Sunday night.  Being food fans and also curious, we decided to cook up some recipes found in the National Library of Ireland’s vast collection of manuscript recipe books.  It gave me a great excuse to look at these books, which have a kind of peripheral interest to my research on animal-human relationships (if you can call being slaughtered and eaten a kind of relationship…).  Anyway, much to our surprise the recipes were quite easy to follow and they all worked.  We did modify them using our judgment, but overall it wasn’t too difficult.  And most of them were actually delicious and well worth a try.  So I thought I’d share all the recipes below.  They are transcribed nearly as they appeared with some corrections of spelling to make them easier to understand.  If anyone is keen to try one, send an email and I can advise on how we modified it.  If you are interested in Irish food history, see Leslie A. Clarkson and E. Margaret Crawford, Feast and famine: a history of food in Ireland 1500-1920.

NLI MS 9563: Mrs Jane Bury’s Receipt Booke (c. 1700)

‘To make the best minse pye’

Take a neat’s tongue [that’s ox tongue] and boil and blanch it.  Cut it into thin slices and when it is cold mince it very small with 3 [epsilon symbol with line through it, some kind of measurement] of suet if tongue be very large if not 2 [epsilon] of suet, two pounds of currants one pound of raisins, stoned, and each of mace, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon in all the same, half a pound of sugar a spoonful of salt half a pint of sack [sweet sherry] some rose water some candied orange or citron mix all those well together & put into your coffin [a pie crust] being made thin and let them stand about an hour in the oven.

[These were actually the best mince pies.  We used butter instead of suet.  Tongue is delicious!  Really! A generous hand with the spices is good.  Also, we used rose syrup instead of rose water.  Tongue must be boiled for a good couple of hours (even up to 4), we did it for only about 1.5 hours and it was still a bit chewy.] Read more

An ingenious audio guide to Tara

10 November 2010

Contributed by Anne Mac Lellan

A tapestry of green and brown fields guarded by haw-laden hedgerows unfolds on all sides. The summit of Tara, reached via a muddy path through squelching wet grass, rewards with views of twelve of Ireland’s counties. Under the mud, further treasures abound. However, without interpretation, it can be difficult to appreciate the significance and richness attached to Tara’s series of grassy ditches, mounds and dips.

A new audio guide infuses the landscape with meaning as the voice of broadcaster Mary Mulvihill guides the listener on a meandering journey through the site. Standing in front of the Mound of the Hostages, the story of ‘Tara boy’ unfolds. A robust 14-year-old, gender unknown, was probably the last person buried in the mound. He or she was the only person not to be cremated. The skeleton was adorned with a necklace of faience, bronze and amber beads while a dagger lay nearby. Read More

Pue’s Recommendations for June

7 June 2010

Juliana Adelman: Summer always makes me a bit homesick for the USA, where just about now I would be putting my coat away for the next three months.  I’ve been reading the New Yorkers which arrive at our house more than a few weeks behind, but I can recommend a slightly dated piece on the politics of history which is available online.  By Professor Jill Lepore, it’s about the Boston tea party and the current Tea Party, but has resonances for this country.  I also read a great book over one recent sunny weekend, Still life: adventures in taxidermy by Melissa Milgrom (thank you, Dad).  Ok, so it might not be your usual deck chair reading, but if you have even a slight interest in the history of natural history it is fascinating.  Lightly written but not lightweight.

Lisa-Marie Griffith:I have spent the last week working at the Dublin Writer’s Festival so my main aim this month is to get through the large pile of books I have acquired. I promised to limit myself to three this year and here are my recommendations: The first book I succumbed to is David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet which is about a Dutch Clerk who travels to India in 1799. There is a forum for discussion of the book here. The second book is Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live, or a Life of Montaigne in which Bakewell has taken the works of Montaigne and used them as a guide to modern living. My final book is Yann Martel’s new book Beatrice and Virgil. I loved The Life of Pi so I am curious to see if this is as good. I learned at the weekend that in order to promote literacy and encourage the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to engage with the arts Martel is sending him a book a fortnight. Any suggestions for where we can post our?

Tina Morin: As I’m writing this, it’s lovely and sunny here and Belfast, and I have every intention of getting out there and enjoying the good weather while it lasts! I plan to bring with me Penelope Lively’s 1979 novel, Treasures of Time. Recently republished by Penguin in its Penguin Decades series, it features a history PhD named Tom Greenway, who, while not busy in the archives, spends his time worrying about his future in a field in which job security isn’t always the name of the game. So familiar!! If that gets all a bit too depressing, I’ll head over to the Ulster Museum to enjoy some of the events they have planned for Archaeology Month 2010. They have various ‘History Hunts’ and meet-and-greets with Vikings planned throughout the month, and I’m particularly looking forward to the Hidden History Walking Tours on 8, 15, 22, and 29 June.  Promising a new perspective on Belfast’s past, this tour sounds too good to miss, especially if the sun holds out!

Kevin O’Sullivan: Long days, sunshine, weekends spent getting as far from the city as possible; love it while it lasts. Not that sunny days can tear your average historian away from the usual vices. This month’s? A book: historian Tony Judt’s Ill Fares the Land, a persuasive history/state of the world call to re-evaluate our political and social priorities and re-embrace the strengths of social democracy. Two podcasts: Talking History’s recent World Cup special and the return of BBC Radio 4’s A History of the World in 100 Objects. And, finally, a blog that I’d forgotten about until a conversation last week directed me back to it: Spangly Princess, a brilliantly-titled mix of history, culture, and football written by Vanda Wilcox, an English First World War historian working in Rome.

The history week ahead on tv and radio: 14 November to 20 November

14 November 2009

813989We’ve decided to change the format a little for the tv and radio guide. You can view it now by clicking here or at any time during the week by clicking on ‘The history week ahead on tv and radio‘ on the sidebar (under ‘Pages’). As ever, if there’s anything we’ve missed, please feel free to add it as a comment under the listings. Happy viewing and listening.

The history week ahead on tv and radio: 7 November to 13 November

7 November 2009



16:55 1989: Day by day, radio, BBC R2

 19:30 More than museums: Poetry Ireland, radio, RTE R1

18.05 Pieces of the wall, radio, RTE R1

20.00 The day of the Kamikaze, tv, Channel 4.

20:05 The secret life of the berlin wall, tv, BBC2

21.15 The noughties… was that it?, tv, BBC3

21:30 Flags of our father, tv, RTE2


13:30 A short history of Ireland Omnibus, radio, BBC Radio Ulster

16.30 Adventures in poetry, radio, BBC R4

16:55 1989: day by day, radio, BBC R4

19:00 Talking history, radio, Newstalk 106

21:00 Garrow’s law: tales from the Old Bailey (historical legal drama), tv, BBC1

22.00 Cerbh E (traditional influences), tv, TG4

23:00 1989: day by day omnibus, radio, BBC R4 Read more

Twenty-five years of Morning Ireland

6 November 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Morning Ireland‘We’re better craic when we’re poor’. Des Bishop, who arrived in Ireland just after Italia 90 and is now unofficial ambassador for the Irish language, on Ireland, now and then. Bishop appeared on RTÉ Radio 1 yesterday morning to discuss the last twenty-five years of Ireland’s history, the period since Morning Ireland began broadcasting on 5 November 1984; an era in which that institution that for many has become, to echo the words of one of a special live audience, ‘part of my morning fix every day’.

The tone of yesterday’s anniversary programme was of a return to those (insert the opposite of halcyon) days of the mid-1980s. In the first hour Richard Downes interviewed Mary McAleese, who emphasised the importance of the peace process, having a positive mental attitude and cutting her salary, and left us with the image of her running after her husband and children in the Áras switching off the lights. Diarmaid Ferriter and Noel Dorr chatted about the events of 1984, the IRA attempt to murder Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative Party conference in Brighton that occurred just before Morning Ireland’s first broadcasts, and the historic processes that followed and led eventually to the Good Friday agreement. But it was economics that dominated: Avoca (who came bearing cake) and Microsoft represented the business community; Ferriter and Dorr discussed social partnership and development, and the importance of striking a balance between the various elements of Irish society to overcome differences and inequality. Not all doom, but more than a little gloom. Read More

War of the Worlds

29 October 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

War-of-the-worlds-tripod‘No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.’ (H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds, 1898, p. 1)

We all know the story of the response to the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds in 1938: the panic, the confusion, and, later, the outrage, as Orson Welles’s uninterrupted simulated news bulletins led listeners to believe that Martians had indeed invaded the earth. Some of you will have read the original (and brilliant) H.G. Wells novel of the same title, a smaller group will be fans of the Jeff Wayne musical version, and probably even less of you will have watched the surprisingly good ‘starring Tom Cruise’ adaptation for the big screen. But have you ever heard the broadcast that caused all the kerfuffle? In a web experience similar to the ‘We Choose Moon’ site marking the Apollo 11 moon landings, from 30 October you will be able to hear the original, from Welles’s series ‘The Mercury Theatre on Air’, in its entirety, seventy-one years to the minute after it originally aired. Go here for details and keep your ears open from 20.00 EST on 30 October (work that out for yourself in local time). Edit: Fintan Hoey has pointed out (see comments) that the broadcast begins at 00.00 GMT on 31 October – the perfect start to Halloween.

In praise of brevity: Philosophy Bites

27 October 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Thomas HobbesWe all know that feeling. You start out with great intentions on that 600-page tome, but one hundred eye-watering pages later begin to ask why you ever started in the first place, calculating just how long it will take to meander through the remaining 152,496 words and on to the next book on your list. But just when you begin to lose confidence in your abilities to concentrate on anything longer than the ‘News Digest’ in The Irish Times, something invariably comes along so perfectly formed it restores your faith in intellectual debate (if not quite the human race).

The Philosophy Bites series of podcasts are just such a thing of beauty – topics of grand philosophical import broken into easily digestible discussions. The format is simple: David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton sit down with prominent philosophers and question and cajole their way through the latter’s areas of expertise. The topics turn out to be as varied and useful as you might expect, with contributions by everyone from Quentin Skinner (on Machiavelli’s The Prince) and Terence Irwin (on Aristotle’s Ethics) to theologian Don Cupitt (on non-realism about God). There are discussions on assisted dying, scientific realism, genocide and bombing civilians in warfare, and other recent examinations of Berkeley’s Puzzle and the myths of Nietzsche. Read More